Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2005 July 15
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Reflections on the Inner Solar System
Credit & Copyright: Jimmy Westlake (Colorado Mountain College)

Explanation: Only Mars is missing from this reflective view of the major rocky bodies of the inner solar system. Captured on July 8th, the serene, twilight picture looks out over the Flat Tops Wilderness area from near Toponas, Colorado, USA and includes planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Earth's large natural satellite, the Moon. The Moon is in a young crescent phase about three degrees above bright planet Venus. Forest fires contribute to a layer of smoke in Earth's sky that almost hides planet Mercury, still visible very near the horizon. Just a week earlier Venus and Mercury were joined by Saturn, forming a notable grouping in the west also enjoyed by skygazers across planet Earth.

Tomorrow's picture: cosmic view

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